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May 03, 2007
Productivity Growth Slows, So Does Rise in Labor Costs

Productivity grew at a slower rate in the first quarter of 2007 than it did in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to preliminary data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2007, down from 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2006.

In the first quarter of 2007, output rose 1.4 percent and hours declined 0.3 percent. From the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007, productivity grew 1.1 percent.

Hourly compensation increased 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2007, less rapidly than in the fourth quarter, when it grew 8.5 percent. When the rise in consumer prices was taken into account, real hourly compensation fell 1.5 percent in the first quarter, in contrast to a 10.8-percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Unit labor costs grew 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2007, following a 6.2-percent rise one quarter earlier.

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